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ImageI decided to include some press coverage from earlier this year in Dragonfly Expeditions’ October Newsletter (“On the Fly”). Somehow I ended up writing EVERY blog post for this newsletter … it seems I’m turning into the “writing monkey” at work (and they wonder why I’m not getting everything done …). So this article starts out with a little intro by me and then features an article by travel writer Richard Varr (now wouldn’t THAT be the best job ever??). Want to learn more about Varr or about the up-and-coming Miami Wynwood Art District? Read on! 🙂Richard Varr is an author and member of the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers). He participated in an architectural tour with us earlier this year during which we introduced him to several Miami neighborhoods, including the Miami Modern (MiMo) and Wynwood Art Districts. With more galleries opening, distinguished artists appearing, and more unique and striking graffiti appearing day by day, the Wynwood Art District is garnering an increasing popularity throughout the state, the country, and the art scene in general. The public can enjoy diverse works of art including pop art, sculpture, and murals that can hardly be considered graffiti, during the Wynwood Art Walk, which occurs once per month. Food trucks that can satisfy any craving – from vegan to gourmet mac and cheese – line the streets of this formerly run-down warehouse district. Guests are treated to free gallery entry and cocktails. I have seen acrobats and snake charmers roam the area as dusk approaches looking to entertain art fans from all walks of life. Click here to browse pictures from this exotic event.

In the following article (published in May 2012), you can clearly sense that Varr was captivated by this up-and-coming district. If you are interested in learning more about Richard Varr, you can visit his travel blog or his travel writing website.

Wynwood Walls – Miami’s Bold Outdoor Street Art Museum

The paint strokes are broad; the theme, boisterous and angry.  I’m studying a bold depiction of a small South Beach uprising, reminiscent of medieval peasants storming a castle. With sharpened wooden poles and even a rake and hammer in hand, pedestrians are confronting the pesky salespeople – those with happy hour menus who try to woo passersby to imbibe at their street-side cafes and restaurants.

“This is obviously a battle scene,” says Joe Furst with Goldman Properties, one of the companies involved with creating the Wynwood Walls.  “If you’ve ever been to Ocean Drive, there are always these hawkers trying to get you to sit at their restaurants at happy hour with half price drinks.”  Furst says the artist, Stelios Faitakis from Greece, felt like he was in a battle.  “He put the happy hour sign in the artwork to demonstrate how he felt walking down Ocean Drive.”

The mural is just one of 40 or so painted by international artists on warehouse walls, rolling storefront steel doors and solid fences that encompass this outdoor street museum.  Wynwood Walls in the thriving Wynwood neighborhood, just north of downtown Miami, began in 2009 and is free and open to the public year-round.  The neighborhood is home to more than 70 art galleries, artist studios, museums and other art related venues.

Image“We call this our urban town center,” says Furst of the Wynwood Walls.  “As some developers would do it with a (supermarket and drug store), we do it with food and beverage, culture and the arts.  It serves as a place for the public to come and congregate in the neighborhood. Street art is one of those things that people always see, but they don’t always feel comfortable in urban areas to sit and take it all in,” he continues.  “This is an environment that allows them to really do that.”

Artists have used brushes, rollers and spray cans to enliven the walls with their luminescent and bold colored murals.  There are also artworks with paper collages.  Murals include faces beaming with expression, quirky caricatures, glowing cityscapes and a mishmash of frivolity.  One mural capturing my eye is the bright green baby caricature in the artwork entitled “Little Hulk” by American artist Ron English.

“We don’t commission their work, but the artists want to be here to be part of the project and they come from all over the world,” says Furst.  “It’s to rejuvenate the area and create a sense of place.  When you come to Wynwood Walls, you’re somewhere unique in the world.” (…)